A Study of User Values in the Bitcoin Community

Project Dates: 
October 2013
Research Area(s): 
Project Description: 

Bitcoin is a digital currency and payment platform that has been the source of much media attention. The currency is not backed by a government like most conventional currencies but is part of a democratic and dencentralized movement. Bitcoin transactions are pseudo-anonymous in a similar way to cash money. Why do people use this currency? How do their political values align with their usage of bitcoin? Furthermore, how does the community regulate itself in the absence of a formal hierarchical structure? Lastly, how do anonymous users form communities? This project aims to improve understanding of how rules are created in decentralized communities, how trust is created in pseudo-anonymous communities, and how resistance operates on many different sociotechnical scales. A two-part study, consisting of an online survey and interviews, will be conducted in order to better understand the values and motivations of the community.